I Think I Need a TV Break...

By , Melbourne, FL
Every time I turn my TV on and flip through ABC Family to Fox to the CW, I almost always end up turning it off due to boredom. After years of watching ‘teen TV’ I think I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion of what they’re all about: teen pregnancies, gay relationships, and near-fatal car accidents. Oh, and lets not forget the common plot twists and non-stop sex that fills up the ‘in between’ spaces.
To be perfectly honest, I’m so sick of the same old cliché story that seems to be a common thread running through all these shows. Take a moment and think about it. In the ever-popular series Glee, Quinn gets pregnant at sixteen by her boyfriend’s best friend; Kurt might as well tattoo his forehead with the words “I’m a proud gay!”, Brittany and Santana’s lesbian relationship is heating up (although Brittany still seems to have no idea what’s going on), and in one of the latest episodes Quinn is slammed full-on by a truck. If you ask me, this storyline seems very similar to ABC Family’s 2009 hit series, Make It or Break It, that contained a very confused bisexual athlete, a 17-year-old pregnant runaway, and a scary car crash right at the end of season two. The only major difference that I can find is that Glee is about singing and Make It or Break It is about gymnastics.
Even though not all TV shows aimed for teenagers center around these things, the sad truth is that most of them do. The Secret Life of the American Teenager started off with a bang as the main character Amy Jerkins suddenly realizes that she’s pregnant and—in my opinion—the show just zoomed downhill from there. Amy’s mom gets pregnant by her ex-husband right as she starts dating another man (seriously?), Grace has sex against her dad’s wishes and then he dies right after in a plane crash (and of course, she blames herself), and Amy and Ricky are now getting married (true, she hasn’t graduated high school and she already has a son, but they’ll make it work, right?). And what’s up with the name of the show? It should be called The Secret Life of Americans, seeing as most of the parents and adults in the show lead secrets lives as well—like Grace’s mom covertly sleeping with a guy her kids barely know and Amy’s dad having an affair with Adrian’s mom.
I guess the thing that bothers me the most is how senseless it all is. Don’t get me wrong; there are plenty of pregnant teenagers as well as bisexual or gay people ‘coming out’ in high school. But to be honest, after being surrounded by it every day, the last thing I want to do is come home and have it plastered in my face by the TV. Just because it exists doesn’t mean that we have to put it on a pedestal and try to sell it as the new normal.
Whatever happened to the classic shows like Full House? I remember those days when DJ Tanner got her first boyfriend and when Jesse and Becky tied the knot. Or what about when Stephanie drove Joey’s car through the kitchen? I remember laughing so hard I almost choked.
The great thing about these old shows is that they’re so family-friendly and funny. They encourage the idea of a united and joyful family, they make us believe that it actually exists! If I were to sit through an episode of Glee with my parents next to me, I would feel ashamed and completely embarrassed to have them know that this is what teenagers are watching. Yet, an episode of Full House or Growing Pains and they’d be giggling right along with me.
Now, this may seem super unrealistic to you, the whole one-big-happy-family deal that’s become rare in our society. But given the choice between the ‘real-life’ dramas with the weird plot twists and all that sex, or the happy, old-fashioned sitcoms that leave me laughing ‘till my sides hurt, I’d take the latter any day. Call me strange, call me different, but I like knowing that there are TV shows out there aimed at something clean and fun. Maybe what we all need is a break from our ‘reality’ teen shows and something fresh, something new that doesn’t involve all those car accidents and pregnancies.





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